With 4:40 left the fourth quarter of the Lakers/Clippers game Friday night the score was tied. Jeremy Lin had the ball out top and waived off a Carlos Boozer pick, directed traffic and called for Kobe Bryant to come out and set the pick. Kobe did, Chris Paul switched on to Lin and Kobe had a nice mismatch with J.J. Redick on him, but Lin opted for a leaning, contested three over CP3. Which he drained (putting the Lakers up three at the time, they eventually lost the game).
After the game, Kobe was asked about that play… and he loved it.
“You have to be able to assert yourself, especially on a team that I’m playing on — especially on a team I’m playing on,” Bryant said with some added emphasis. “Because I don’t want chumps, I don’t want pushovers, and if you’re a chump and a pushover, I will run over you….
“It’s like,” Bryant said during his postgame news conference, then leaned forward and pounded his fist on the table, “you’ve got to put your mark down, man.”
“At some point, you’ve got to piss on the fire hydrant.”
I’m fairly confident Kobe never referred to himself as a fire hydrant before.
Not surprisingly, Kobe has always favored his fearless and aggressive teammates, even when that led to bad shots. He loved Derek Fisher. He loved Shannon Brown. He loved guys that played aggressive and would shoot the rock even when someone else may have had a better look, because Kobe wants guys to be aggressive and step up.
Lin is aggressive to a fault. That’s why he’s in the NBA, he likes to go right, he likes to attack hard off the pick, and his jumper has improved. He’s a solid NBA rotation guard now, which on this Lakers team makes him one of their better players.
And Kobe likes him, which could keep him around for a while.